“Miz Scarlett, that bourbon ain’t gone do you no good; you pourin’ two glasses every time, uh uh!
Bin tellin’ you over a month now, he ain’t never comin’ back, your own fault.
No amount of licker goin’ to drown the elephant in this room.”
Scarlett shuts her eyes and wishes Mammy would shut up.
“Elephant in the room” is an English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have made a choice. They are choosing to concern themselves with tangential or small and irrelevant issues rather than deal with the looming big one.
The term is often used to describe an issue that involves a social taboo, such as race, religion or even suicide. This idiomatic phrase is applicable when a subject is emotionally charged; and the people who might have spoken up decide that it is probably best avoided.
The idiom is commonly used in addiction recovery terminology to describe the reluctance of friends and family of an addicted person to discuss the person’s problem, thus aiding the person’s denial. It is sometimes invoked as a “pink elephant”, possibly in reference to alcohol abuse.
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